Mumbai: How diabetics are keeping the faith this Ramzan

Patients say strict adherence to diet, exercise and timely intake of medicines is enabling them to observe the month-long fast

“Ramzan is about faith in Allah, and that is what gives me the strength and resolve to diligently observe roza every day,” said SM Yaqub, a 68-year-old diabetic.

Yousuf Kanchwala (left) and Dr Mustansir Abbasi at the latter’s clinic in Bhendi Bazaar. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Yousuf Kanchwala (left) and Dr Mustansir Abbasi at the latter’s clinic in Bhendi Bazaar. Pics/Bipin Kokate

Yaqub, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2000, says that not once in the last 16 years has his ailment prevented him from fasting during the holy month of Ramazan. Moreover, he has been observing roza since the age of 15.

“I eat a lot of fruits, bread and drink milk, in addition to my medication. While I do savour sweets in moderation, I stay away from starchy foods like rice and potatoes. I have a simple motto: ‘perspiration over medication’ and never miss my daily walks. I have kept my weight constant, which has helped me keep the disease in check,” said the Nagpada resident.

Narrating her father-in-law’s routine, Mehtab Shaikh said, “He never misses his medication and is the most active person during Ramzan I’ve ever seen. Despite retiring a decade ago, he still works at his previous office as a retainer. Also, he walks to his office in Mumbai Central.”

Like Yakub, Yousuf Kanchwala also observes roza despite being a diabetic.

A resident of Bhendi Bazaar, 56-year-old Kanchwala said, “Many people have asked me why I keep roza despite being a diabetic. For me, it’s a matter of faith. I have been observing it since the age of 15 and will continue the tradition until my last breath. Though Allah forgives all our sins, we also need to do our bit and this is what keeps me going during Ramzan. Homemade food and a strict no to soft drinks is the secret of my healthy roza observance. Moreover, I keep stress at bay and avoid foods like bread, potatoes and rice.”

Doc speak
Dr Mustansir Abbasi, who advises diabetics on how to observe roza without experiencing adverse effects, said, “There is a certain pre-Ramzan preparation that needs to be done before observing the fast. A diabetic needs to lose at least 10 kg, ensure that s/he doesn’t skip medications and eat a lot of dry fruits while breaking roza. Most importantly, patients should never exert themselves.”

In good faith
Must do for diabetics keen on observing roza 
>> Always opt for a pre-Ramzan check-up
>> Rearrange dosage after consulting your physician
>> Consume food items rich in potassium

Exemptions made
Among those allowed to skip roza are children, those suffering from illness, travelling, elderly, diabetics, menstruating, pregnant and breastfeeding women.

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